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Poetry In Voice awards over $20K to 9 Canadian students in national poetry recitation competition

The annual Poetry in Voice competition challenges Canadian students in Grades 9-12 to learn two poems by heart and perform them in front of an audience.
The nine winners of the 2022 Poetry In Voice competition. (Poetry In Voice)

Nine Canadian students have reached the top of the annual 2022 Poetry In Voice competition, beating out 10,000 students in a national poetry performance challenge that awards prizes of $1,000 to $3,000.

The finalists competed in a series of meets — school contests, the online qualifiers and the semifinals — before reaching the finals, which can be streamed below.

Stephanie Omorotionmwan from Calgary, Nadine Berdous from Montreal and Camille Racicot from Montreal won first prize in their categories — English, bilingual and French, respectively. Each of them received $3,000 and an additional $1,000 to buy poetry books for their schools.

Throughout the competition, Omorotionmwan, a student at All Saints High School, memorized and performed poetry like El Jones's Black SheroesRaymond Antrobus's Two Guns in the Sky for Daniel Harris and Billy-Ray Belcourt's If Our Bodies Could Rust, We Would Be Falling Apart.

Watch the English readings here.

French winner Racicot from Cégep du Vieux Montréal took on François Rioux's Jean-Talon tentaculaireAnnie Lafleur's On a quitté la region... and Henri Michaux's Le grand combat.

Bilingual stream champion Berdous from Collège Jean-Eudes performed Martial de Brives' Les soupirs d'une âme exilée in French and Edwin Arlington Robinson's Richard Cory in English.

Watch the French readings here.

Al Gilbert from Kildonan-East Collegiate in Winnipeg, Amira Aouchiche from École internationale de Montréal in Montreal and Sarah Hamdi from University of Toronto schools in Toronto came in second place in their categories. Each received $2,000 with an additional $500 to be spent on poetry books for their schools.

Bem Denga from Webber Academy in Calgary, Lauren Altomare from Northern Secondary School in Toronto and Victoria Ngoy Ndombe from Villa Ste.-Marcelline in Westmount, Que. received third prize. They each won $1,000 and $250 to spend on poetry books for their schools.

Poets Michael Crummey, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Brandon Wint, Laurie Bédard, Flavia Garcia and Baron Marc-André Lévesque judged the final competition, hosted by former CBC host Johanne Blais.

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